Are you considering a master’s in data science? If so, you’re in luck — not only are you going to be part of a fast-growing field full of job opportunities, but as a data scientist, you’ll have what Harvard Business Review has dubbed “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”
That said, postgraduate qualifications — and the exciting career they can launch you into — aren’t free. In fact, they’re not even inexpensive; postgraduate education can carry a heavy financial burden, with the average master’s degree costing between $54,000 and $73,000, and the average master’s degree-holder carrying over $83,000 in student debt.
Luckily, there’s a way to ease this burden: scholarships. As a prospective data science master’s student, you’ll find a wide range of scholarships you can apply for to help fund your postgraduate education. Keep reading to discover an extensive list of scholarship opportunities you may qualify for today.
15 Data Science Scholarships Master’s Students Can Apply for Today
In addition to choosing a program and applying for your degree, it’s an essential step in your master’s degree preparation to plan for how you’ll pay for your degree. While you’ll have federal and school-specific financial aid available to you, one crucial resource you won’t want to miss out on is the vast world of scholarships.
While there are many scholarships for STEM generally, and even some specifically for women in STEM, data-science graduate students like you also have scholarship opportunities tailored to your field of interest. Below, find a variety of data science and related scholarships for current and rising grad students you can start applying for today.
Data Science Scholarships & Fellowships
This fellowship, sponsored by Intel in collaboration with professional society SIGHP, was founded to increase diversity in the computational sciences. Candidates must be current or rising graduate students in data science or a related field and be nominated by an advisor. The fellowship is renewable for up to two years, and candidates will be evaluated not only based on academic excellence and likelihood of completing a graduate program, but also their ability to enhance diversity in the field — meaning students of all races, genders, orientations, and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Scholarship amount: $15,000 per year for up to two years.
- Nomination from your current or soon-to-be advisor.
- Current CV and candidate statement.
- Brief endorsement from a current or former instructor or supervisor who can speak to your work and abilities.
Google DeepMind, Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) research arm, offers a variety of postgraduate scholarships for students studying data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning at top universities around the world. In the United States, postgraduates at NYU, UCLA, and UCSD are eligible for master’s-level DeepMind scholarships, which will not only provide financial assistance, but also bring accepted students into the broader DeepMind professional network. These programs fully finance a master’s program, and students from underrepresented backgrounds are especially considered.
Scholarship amount: Varies; full funding available.
Application requirements: Due to DeepMind’s partnership with specific universities, all master’s students are automatically considered for the scholarship if they are accepted to the relevant program.
Students in Georgetown University’s MS in Data Science program are eligible for this annual data science scholarship. The amount varies every year and is awarded based on a data visualization project that current and rising students must submit anonymously after the call for applications goes out each spring — which will contain the specifics of that year’s project and application. Only students who are accepted and enrolled into the Georgetown MS in Data Science program are eligible to apply.
Scholarship amount: Varies.
- Applicants must complete a mini data visualization project without assistance.
- Complete an anonymous application form according to the stated specifications released annually.
Students at UC Berkeley’s master’s program in data science, known as MIDS, are eligible to apply for the Jack Larson Data for Good Fellowship. This award is granted to students who intend to use their data science knowledge to serve the greater public good and have demonstrated their commitment to this aim through a background in public service. Students may apply more than once, and recipients may also reapply in subsequent years.
Scholarship amount: $8,500 distributed among three recipients.
- A background in public service such as government, nonprofit, or charity work.
- Must be a current student in the UC Berkeley School of Information MIDS program.
- Submit an online application by the deadline.
St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana offers the Lilly Endowment Data Science Scholarship for students in its MS in Data Science program. This scholarship, which is available only to current Indiana residents or recent graduates of an undergraduate institution based in Indiana, is based on both academic potential and/or financial need and is renewable throughout the recipient’s data science studies at St Mary’s.
Scholarship amount: Up to $5,000 ($1,000 per term for up to five academic terms).
Application requirements: All MS in Data Science students who meet the Indiana residency. requirement are automatically considered for this scholarship when they apply to the program; no further application is required.
Central Connecticut State University considers all graduate students in its Department of Mathematical Sciences department for this scholarship, which provides $200 per credit per semester, up to $800 per semester per student. Students are considered for this award primarily on the basis of academic merit, although other considerations, such as financial need, may also be considered.
Scholarship amount: $800 per semester.
Application requirements: All MS in Data Mining students and other graduate students in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at CCSU are automatically considered for this scholarship when they apply to the program; no further application is required.
MinneAnalytics offers over 30 scholarships to undergraduates and rising graduate students studying fields that will lead to a career in analytics, including data science. Awards are granted to institutions located in the Midwest, where MinneAnalytics is based; scholarship recipients must be nominated by their academic department, with one application per department permitted each year. Applicants must be enrolled as undergraduates at the time of the application, but recipients may use the award to fund their postgraduate studies.
Scholarship amount: $1,000
Application requirements: Nomination from a member of faculty or staff at your institution, who will submit the application on your behalf.
The National Science Foundation’s graduate research fellowships aim to increase both quality and diversity of STEM research at graduate institutions across the United States. Applicants must be full-time graduate students in a research-based master’s or doctoral program in a STEM field at an accredited U.S. institution — including master’s programs in data science. This fellowship will provide a renewable $37,000 stipend for up to three years of full-time graduate study.
Scholarship amount: $37,000 per year for three years.
- Application form with personal information.
- Detailed work history and CV.
- Statement of proposed field of study and research to be undertaken, known as the Graduate Research Plan Statement.
- Up to five references/letters of recommendation.
City University of New York (CUNY) offers this annual tuition scholarship for students in fields related to technology, including both undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are considered based on both academic merit and financial need. To be eligible to apply, graduate students must be enrolled in the MS in Data Analytics, have completed at least six credits at CUNY, hold a 3.0 GPA or higher, and be within 12 credits of graduation.
Scholarship amount: Varies.
Application requirements: Eligible CUNY students must apply for the scholarship online through the CUNY portal within the relevant timeframe.
Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international coed honors fraternity for computing and information sciences, offers this scholarship in collaboration with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Both undergraduates and graduate students are eligible to apply, on the condition that they are members of both ACM and the ACM chapter at their academic institution. Applications are considered based on academic merit and involvement in ACM-related activities.
Scholarship amount: $1,000.
- Application form submitted as a PDF.
- Letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with your work.
- Official transcripts from college and graduate school (if applicable).
Data Science Scholarships for Women & Minorities
This scholarship, offered by Acxiom, is open to any member of a historically marginalized and/or underrepresented group who is currently studying technology in computer science or a related field at any level. To be considered, applicants must be willing to complete an on-site summer internship with Acxiom in Arkansas as part of the scholarship and must hold a current GPA of 3.25 or higher at the time of application.
Scholarship amount: $5,000.
- Application form with personal statement.
- Current CV.
- Current transcript
- Letter of recommendation from a professor, employer, or personal contact.
For LGBTQ+ students and notable allies, the American Statistical Association offers this scholarship to those enrolled in an accredited graduate program in data science or statistics. Recipients of this scholarship are expected to not only use their award to contribute to their statistical and data science education, but also to work to advance the rights and awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by another party.
Scholarship amount: Varies.
- Resume or CV.
- Personal statement including how you will work to help the LGBTQ+ community.
- Optional peer or colleague letter of support.
The GEM Consortium offers master’s and PhD fellowships for historically underrepresented racial minorities looking to study in STEM fields, including data science. The master’s fellowship not only provides generous funding including both full tuition and a living stipend, but also up to two paid internships with GEM-affiliated employers. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.8 or higher to be eligible for consideration, and some fellows are nominated by their university.
Scholarship amount: $16,000 minimum.
- Online application form.
- Official transcripts.
Women students looking to enroll in the MS in Data Science at Vanderbilt University are eligible for the Women in Technology of Tennessee (WiTT) Scholarship, which covers 100% of tuition expenses. Applicants must be members of WiTT before applying, and preference is given to those who have not previously received a WiTT scholarship.
Scholarship amount: Full tuition.
- Full online application with personal statements.
- One letter of recommendation.
The Women in Data Science scholarship at the University of San Francisco is awarded to one woman-identified student in the MS in Data Science program. This scholarship is aimed at addressing historical underrepresentation of women in the field, and no separate application process is necessary — students are automatically considered for it when making their application to the master’s program.
Scholarship amount: Varies.
Application requirements: All MS in Data Science students who identify as women are automatically considered for this scholarship when they apply to the program; no further application is required.
Expert Tips for Landing a Data Science Scholarship in Grad School
Now that you’ve got some scholarships in mind, how do you improve your odds of being granted funding? Should you focus on just one big scholarship, or a bunch of small ones? And when should you apply? While the decision about who receives each scholarship is ultimately out of your hands, playing to your strengths and staying organized can improve your odds. Here are a few tips to bear in mind as you apply for data science scholarships.
Tip 1: Gather Letters of Recommendation Early
Many scholarships, if not all, call for letters of recommendation. Because you won’t be the one writing these, it’s important to reach out to potential recommenders early — not only to see if they’re willing to write on your behalf, but also to inform them of the details of the scholarships you’re applying for, deadlines and procedures for them to submit the letters, etc. Remember, life happens, so having back-up letters of recommendation can be a clever idea.
Tip 2: Be Mindful of Deadlines
Punctuality is half the battle — when it comes to scholarships, this means knowing the deadlines for applications, letters of recommendation, and any additional materials to submit. As these can vary, consider getting a paper or digital calendar to keep track of important dates. This can be especially important for scholarships with a firm deadline; you’d hate to miss out on being considered for a scholarship due to a late submission!
Tip 3: Apply Early and Often
When it comes to scholarship applications, it can be helpful to think of it as a numbers game. This means that you improve your odds of getting a scholarship with every application you submit. While you should only apply for scholarships where you meet the eligibility requirements, beyond that, go crazy! To submit as many applications as you can without burning out, try to begin applying early, which should give you time to prepare and submit a wide variety of applications.
Tip 4: Get Specific
Some scholarships are open to all manner of students from different academic disciplines, backgrounds, and even levels of study. Others are more specific — such as scholarships from a single university, or for a specific subset of the student population. If you fit into the eligibility requirements for a specific category of scholarships, it can be a clever idea to focus on them; more specific eligibility requirements lead to a narrower pool of eligible students and fewer applicants, thus improving your odds.
Tip 5: Use a Template to Save Time – But Be Careful
Short on time, but need to write a large number of personal statements for different scholarship applications? Try a template — a basic statement about you, your background, and your research interests that can be adapted for different applications. This can be a major time saver but be careful: Be sure to read through your statement thoroughly before submitting it to make sure that you got any scholarship-specific details right.
Resources for Data Science Master’s Students
Excited for your master’s in data science, but want to learn more? Check out these resources for advice and ways to connect with fellow data science students and professionals:
- Association of Data Scientists – An organization founded by and for data science and machine learning professionals, ADS offers individual and institutional memberships, corporate training and events, and local chapters to bring data scientists together.
- Columbia Data Science Society – While this data science society is specific to Columbia University, check with your institution for something similar. Groups like this offer a way for data science students from the undergrad to PhD level to connect, share tips, and work together.
- Convergence – This online machine learning conference is a free, virtual event that aims to bring together top researchers in data science and machine learning every year to exchange ideas and build community.
- DataCamp Radar AI – This fully online data science conference is a day-long event with an emphasis on AI and the future of machine learning, held by a popular data science bootcamp.
- Data Science Society – This worldwide professional organization bills itself as an international virtual community of data science researchers and professionals that organizes meetups and events for its members around the world.
- Data Skeptic’s Machine Intelligence – This podcast turns a critical eye on data science, machine learning, and AI, exploring their implications in ethics, the arts, business, and beyond.
- International Society of Data Scientists – This is an international professional organization that hosts an annual worldwide competition for data science and artificial intelligence.
- Naked Statistics – This book turns data and statistics into something exciting by showing how they affect our daily lives. The writing style proves as interesting to professionals as it is to laymen.
- Not So Standard Deviations – Here’s a podcast that explores the fun, the funky, and the dangerous sides of data science, from its use in national defense to utilizing ChatGPT in education.
- Open Data Science Conference — ODSC, as this AI and data science conference is known, is one of the biggest events in the business, drawing top thought leaders every year for a major in-person, three-day event with lectures, skills training, product expos, and more.
- r/datascience – From the popular social media site Reddit, this online forum on all things data science boasts over one million members and is a place to ask questions, trade tips, and exchange ideas about data science.
- SuperDataScience Podcast – From the career-focused site SuperDataScience, this podcast releases new episodes twice a week featuring some of the biggest names in data science as guests.
- The Functional Art – This blog-turned-book presents data science from the perspective of information design, bringing both artistic and practical perspectives to some of the biggest ideas in data science.
- Weapons of Math Destruction – This 2016 book is focused on the ethics of data science and the data industry’s impact on political life, with earnest questions presented in a layman-friendly, accessible manner.
- WiDSWorldwide – Women in Data Science, or WiDS, is a professional organization for women working in or studying data science, which has regional chapters and local and annual conferences.